Self-defense Shooting Ruled
Justified by Grand Jury
Originally ran here
Grand jury vindicates shooter in killing
Antiques dealer will not face charges
By PETER FRANCESCHINA, email@example.com
June 7, 2001, Florida News-Press
A grand jury determined Wednesday that a Fort
Myers antiques dealer was justified in gunning down a drunken, menacing neighbor
wielding an ice pick in February.
The jurors found that Fredricka “Ricki”
Howie, 53, of North Fort Myers was justified in using deadly force, said
Assistant State Attorney Dean Plattner, one of two prosecutors who presented the
case to the panel of 18 people.
Gregory Schreffler, 34, died from a single
shotgun wound after a long-running dispute with Howie over the barking of her
dogs at Honeysuckle Cottage Antiques on Fowler Street, near downtown Fort Myers.
“There was evidence that shows that the
deceased, Mr. Schreffler, was armed with an ice pick or a leather punch,”
Police found the ice pick lying in the grass
near where Schreffler was shot.
Howie, who was interviewed extensively after
the shooting, told police that Schreffler threatened her, Plattner said.
Schreffler’s blood-alcohol content, measured
from blood diluted from intravenous fluids, was .18 percent, Plattner said.
Blood-alcohol measurements on eye fluids revealed a much higher figure of .27
percent, he said, more than three times Florida’s legal limit of .08 percent
Plattner declined to comment on other evidence
presented. Grand jury proceedings are secret by law. At least 12 of the jurors
had to agree Howie was justified in using deadly force, Plattner said.
A man who answered the phone at Howie’s
residence said, “We don’t talk to reporters.”
The antiques shop is now up for sale.
Mack Littleton, who let Schreffler live with
him and his mother, testified before the grand jury but didn’t witness the
shooting. He said he was disappointed jurors didn’t charge Howie with a crime.
“Unreal. I preached and I told everything I
knew and I can't believe they came up with that decision. Unreal, unreal. I'm
sorry to hear that because I don't think it was justifiable homicide. I don't
see how the grand jury could come up with that,” said Littleton, who has
maintained from the beginning that he didn’t see Schreffler carrying an ice
pick when he went to confront Howie.
“Out of the 18 jurors, probably 12 or 13 of
them questioned me for about an hour, and they got into detail, too,” he said.
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